Yes, That Really is Today’s Topic
Is the title ambitious enough? It is not like the subject has never been broached before. Libraries are filled with books on the subject. It is a topic that traverses the disciplines of theology, philosophy, as well as self-help. What could possibly be said about this in a relatively short essay?
On the other hand, it is a topic that people of faith should grapple with. Unfortunately it is a topic that many gloss over, even faithful people. It might be because it touches on the end of our earthly lives, and that is frightening for many people. Many give only a superficial, passing thought to the point of life, as they go about their busy day.
Where and When We Do Tend to Talk About This
This topic comes up most often at funerals, which just underlines why most people do not want to talk about it at other times. As befitting my Catholic up brining, most of the funerals I attend are Catholic services. It’s just what most of my friends are, and of course their parents. So, maybe my observations here are peculiar to Catholic services, but somehow, I think they are not.
Usually during the sermon at these services the preacher will make a claim that the point of life is to get to Heaven. I suspect most in attendance agree. It seems to those hearing this that this is a cogent point, and the best time/place to bring it up.
Getting to Heaven Is Not the Point of Life
I may be in the distinct minority, but I strongly disagree with this formulation, particularly when uttered by people of faith. If we believe in God, if we trust that God’s Word is true, that the Resurrection is real, and that Jesus Christ is Lord, then we believe that we are saved. This is the essence of our faith.
As an outgrowth of that faith, and the trust in the salvation that is given to us because of that faith, we must believe that we already have a place in Heaven. In fact, I would argue we are already in Heaven, we are already at the banquet. We just cannot see this from our current plane of existence. When we die, we step out of time into eternity, so we are already there. We are all arriving at the same time. As my former pastor used to say, this is not a party we can be late to.
Since we trust that we are already saved, and that an eternal relationship with our Father in Heaven has been given to us, we must recognize therefore that getting to Heaven is not the point of life. How could it be? If we are assured of our eternal salvation, if we are already in Heaven, if we trust that Heaven has been given to us, then we cannot be striving for that which we already possess.
If It’s Not Heaven, Then What is the Point of Life?
If getting to Heaven is not the point of life, then what is? I would argue that living in response to the gift of Heaven already granted to us by God through Grace by Faith is the actual point of life. Living in thankful response to God’s gifts of Grace upon Grace is why we are here. We get to get up every day, with our salvation assured, and Heaven in our back pocket, and go out and find new and interesting ways to kick Satan’s ass.
How do we kick Satan’s ass? One act of love at a time. One act of forgiveness at a time. One act of service and sacrifice at a time. In short, go out and live as fully a human life as we can. The roadmap for what this looks like is Jesus Himself. Yes, we will fall short. So what? The point is to try.
We need to reorient our thinking in the light of the faith that has been given to us. This insight was also given to me by my former pastor. He pointed out that we are not human beings in search of some spiritual higher plane. We are spiritual beings in search of what it is to be fully human. Like everything else about Christ, this turns our thinking on its head, which is as it should be.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
So we should go about our lives in joyful response to what God has already given us, Heaven. Get up every day and know that the point is to be as fully human as we can be, using Jesus as our template. What this means specifically for each of us is as varied as there are people on the planet. Trust the still small voice of God to direct you to where you can be of most joyful, effective service.
This should give us great peace of mind, increased focus, and a sense of profound purpose. It provides the purpose and contentment that can only come with the full knowledge of knowing the point of life. Now that we know the point of life, it should be that much easier, and joyful to go out and live it.
Praise Be to God